Penn., Ohio, Michigan groups form Smart Belt Coalition to focus on automated vehicle tech

Updated Jan 20, 2017

Transportation agencies from Pennsylvania, Ohio and Michigan have formed the Smart Belt Coalition to focus on automated and connected vehicle initiatives.

“I’m excited for us to continue our efforts in fostering safe and effective development of this technology,” Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) Secretary Leslie S. Richards says. “This multi-state partnership not only offers fantastic collaboration opportunities, but will also bring some consistency to testing scenarios that will help the private sector as they develop these technologies.”

The coalition will develop a “strategic plan” that aims to focus on the following concepts.

  • Connected and automated applications in work zones, including uniform work-zone scenarios offering consistency for testers as well as technologies offering better information to motorists.
  • Commercial freight opportunities in testing, including platooning (connecting more than one vehicle) and potential coordination on interstates.
  • Incident management applications providing better information to and infrastructure for emergency responders and other agencies.

The entities joining the coalition include government and academia:

  • Pennsylvania: PennDOT, Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (PTC) and Carnegie Mellon University;
  • Michigan: Michigan Department of Transportation and University of Michigan; and
  • Ohio: Ohio Department of Transportation, Ohio Turnpike and Infrastructure Commission, The Ohio State University and Transportation Research Center.

“This new coalition recognizes that automated and connected vehicle initiatives transcend state boundaries and spur emerging technologies,” PTC CEO Mark Compton says. “Working together, we will be able to more effectively advance these emerging technologies for all motorists.”